We awake in darkness and it comes again well before we lay down to sleep.The stars and moon reveal nothing beyond a step or two in any direction, and the lights we carry with us are too small to illuminate much beyond that. Darkness obscures the longer view, keeping hidden what is distant. Familiar paths are strange to us when they lie in the obscurity of shadow.
But darkness also reveals, offering to us those things that the sun hides. We see the mystery of that bit of concrete that connects the front door to the street, the well traveled sidewalk, and that footpath by the water because what is beyond our next step no longer blinds us. Stars, moon, and the small lights we carry show us the depth and beauty of where we are. This is the gift of darkness, and it is a sacred one.
This Advent, we have the chance to shed a little darkness on the well worn road to Bethlehem, to appreciate what is at and beneath our feet by keeping in shadow what is five, ten, twenty steps down the line. Don’t let the darkness worry you. We will hear the angels sing and we will find our way to the Christ child in the manger in God’s good time – we just won’t miss the beauty and holiness that can only be found by putting one foot in front of the other on a starlit night.